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Degree Name

DrPH (Doctor of Public Health)


Public Health

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Liang Wang

Committee Members

David Kirschke, Kesheng Wang, Laraine Powers


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States (U.S.). The largest increases of incidence for HCV infection are reported in the Appalachian region. This study aimed to 1) examine the prevalence and trends of HCV infection in the U.S. from 1999 to 2012; 2) investigate barriers to HCV infection treatment in Northeast Tennessee and the U.S.; and 3) study characteristics and risk factors for HIV-infection and HCV-infection in Northeast Tennessee. In the U.S., data were obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2012 to study the prevalence of HCV infection and barriers to treatment. In Northeast Tennessee, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS data were obtained from National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) and enhanced HIV/AIDS Reporting System (eHARS). Descriptive statistics and multiple logistic regression models were used for analysis. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were reported. There was an estimated 3.8 million people having HCV antibody in the U.S. in 2012. No significant change was found in the prevalence of HCV infection during 1999 – 2012. The leading barrier to the treatment was cost issues in the U.S. (50.0%) and Northeast Tennessee (25.0%), respectively. HCV patients without symptoms in Northeast Tennessee were more likely to be untreated (OR: 3.08, 95% CI: 1.10-8.60) and patients without health insurance in the U.S. were more likely to be untreated than their counterparts (OR: 3.38, 95% CI: 1.14-10.05). The incidence of acute hepatitis C peaked in 2012-2013 in Northeast Tennessee, while the incidence of HIV/AIDS increased by 100% from 2013 to 2015. More injection drug users (IDUs) and less men who have sex with men (MSM) were observed in patients with HCV infection than in those with HIV infection (IDUs: 50.63% vs.16.38% p

Document Type

Dissertation - restricted


Copyright by the authors.